Sheriffs deputy honored

November 30, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART


When he got the invitation to the Hagerstown Fire Department's annual awards banquet Saturday night, Washington County Sheriff's Department Deputy 1st Class David R. Norford said he was pretty sure he knew why he was on the guest list.

Norford was there to receive a certificate of appreciation for rescuing children a year ago from a burning building before firefighters arrived.

"Firefighters do that kind of thing every day ? I'm no hero," Norford said by telephone Thursday. "I just did what needed to be done."

Norford was on routine patrol the afternoon of Feb. 25, 2005, when he spotted smoke in the 100 block of East Washington Street in Hagerstown.


A 16-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, Norford entered a burning building, where he found three children sleeping in their apartment. He took the children, then ages 6, 9 and 15, to his patrol car, covered them with a blanket and called their mother, who was working in Frederick, Md.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by a 4-year-old playing with matches elsewhere in the building. No one was injured in the blaze.

At last year's General Assembly session, Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, welcomed Norford to Annapolis as the Maryland House of Delegates honored him for his actions.

Donoghue sponsored a House resolution in recognition of Norford's "courageous, quick-thinking and heroic rescue before the arrival of firefighters, saving the lives of three sleeping children from their burning Hagerstown apartment."

Norford, 37, said he checks on the children every once in a while. "They are doing great," he said Thursday.

"I'm a second-generation police officer ? I have to live up to that," Norford said. His father, Ronald Norford, served both in the Maryland State Police and Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Also honored Saturday night at the banquet were:

Corey M. Sprecher, rookie firefighter of the year for his initiative and desire shown in becoming a firefighter.

Donovan M. (Donnie) Boward, outstanding volunteer firefighter ? 50 years of service.

"Anytime you get someone who is dedicated to doing anything for 50 years ... that's something," Chief Gary Hawbaker said of Boward.

Franklin W. Ridenour, chief's award for setting an example of dedication and devotion.

Capt. Russell A. Grim, John A. Latimer IV, G. Glenn Fuscsick and Cindy L. Lewis, special awards of excellence for extra effort in winning another $222,920 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant. Hawbaker said their work had resulted in more than $500,000 in grants in the past two years.

Elwood's Auto Exchange, a certificate of appreciation for providing more than 40 vehicles for training.

Capt. James L. Sprecher Jr., special commendation for volunteer firefighter who responded to the most incidents ? 274 ? in 2005.

Sprecher has been first or second in responses over the past decade, Hawbaker said.

"I'm happy to see his son (Corey) is following in his footsteps," he said.

The next nine highest responders are Travis J. Barkdoll, 245; Christopher M. Fortin, 226; Robert L. McGhee, 166; David C. Sheppard, 159; Tony L. Lida, 146; James B. Forberger, 138; Edward L. Bryan, 116; Frank L. Shupp Jr., 111; and Scott E. Reese, 105.

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